If you're a fan of the Jack Ryan universe, this is an awesome book. It tells the origins of special agent John Clark. Jack Ryan doesn't appear in this book, but if you're read other books about Clark, it's quite a treat to find out where he came from and what his emotional past is.
The reading of this book is mediocre. The speaker has a good voice, but doesn't differentiate the character's voices at all. It can make things a little confusing when there is a lot of dialogue between two or more characters. The newer books in this series are much better narrated.
Narration: I'm not normally a big fan of female readers... not sure if I've just not gotten good ones in the past. The other female readers I've heard have all been fairly bland. However Linda Stephens narrates this book with EXTREME craft. She really brings the characters to life. It is very easy to follow who is speaking just by her tone and accent. She has a very broad range, from gruff men to lilting ladies. It's quite a joy to listen to her.
The Story: First off, you will see the dark side of a 'romantic heroine'. I find Scarlett O'Hara deeply unlikeable and yet I couldn't 'put this book down' so to speak. Rhett Butler is endlessly entertaining with his "i don't give a care" attitude.
The element I least expected going into this book was the large amount of Civil War history it includes. I'd almost label this 'historical fiction'. Also, growing up on the west coast, this book gives a very different view of the Civil War, slavery, and Reconstruction than I was taught in school. I don't think it changed my mind, but it certainly challenged me and made me think.
This book is a VERY STRONG recommend rating. It flows well and quickly and is quite entertaining. I tend to like a lot of 19th century British lit, and this had a similar feel but with a bit more 'realism'.
Don't get me wrong... this story is a classic and is a very quick read/listen. It doesn't get bogged down in politics like some of Clancy's other novels. It is definitely pro-American, but then again if you're reading any of these novels you should expect that. The author pretty much assumes that you agree that Western democracy is obviously better than any other form of government and everyone in the world naturally wants to be like us if given the chance. That's fine with me because I agree with it, but I know that many people might not.
The narration leaves a lot to be desired. The only thing that really made this reader listenable was the use of audio effects to simulate phone calls, radio, etc. Otherwise I found his voicing ridiculous. The most glaring fault is that every British accent he attempts comes out sounding Australian, not English. It actually confused me at the beginning because I thought he was introducing a new character. If you can find another version of this book, I'd recomment it. The effects are fun and always appreciated, but a good voice actor and do a lot with his voice even without the efffects. In this case I'd rather the gentleman just skipped the accents when he couldn't do them. (His Russian accents are much better, though.)
Please, beat me in the head with a stick! I accidentally purchased this because there was a Darwin book on my reading list. I just didn't remember which one. I should've purchased Voyage of the Beagle.
Unless you want to hear very dry scientific theory expounded upon by way too numerous examples, skip this. It is a very poor way to get an understanding of Darwin's basic principles and arguments. It is very technical, even though Darwin within the text explains how he is skipping the technical details. I had to force myself through the first of the two audio downloads, and was zoned out through most of it.
If you HAVE to read this, get the abriged version. Otherwise get a different text to explain his arguments. Anyone have suggestions for a better book to read?
The narrator of this book has an incredible ability to change accents on the fly, giving each character a special voice and life. It is very easy to tell the characters apart just by the way he reads each one. Also, the producer added in some special effects to make the narration sound like a graduation event, or a church microphone system. This is probably the best read story of any I've heard on audible. It's a treat just to listen to the narrator speak.
First off, the two readers are quite good. Unfortunately the text doesn't equal their performances.
This collection of 4 or so short stories falls well short of Stephen King. I'm a huge fan of a lot of his work, my favorites being It and Stand By Me. He normally does a great job of creating compelling characters and filling his stories with thrilling tension.
These stories, however, are just disgusting. The first story starts with "a brutal murder so horrible I can't recount it" (paraphrase) and then proceeds to describe the death in horrible, nausea inducing detail. (I literally got sick to my stomach during this story.) There is no excitement, just pure over-the-top grossout.
The second story is one of brutal rape that only a sadist can enjoy. Seriously... unless you like hearing all the details of a horrible rape, this is a terrible story.
The remainder of the stories are dull and once again lack his normal genius. What they ARE full of us forced, dated references to 2008-2009. It seems like he's trying to hard to show that he's 'hip' to the new age... forcing in mentions of GPS, google, twitter, and other tech buzzwords that already feel dated just a year or so later.
If you love stephen king, you will be disappointed. If you don't know his work, this is a terrible place to start. Skip this book entirely and save yourself the disgust. There isn't a single redeeming story here.
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